US:Plain Language Bill Clears House Subcommittee

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Jan 31 16:17:05 UTC 2008

Plain Language Bill Clears House Subcommittee

A bill mandating that federal agencies use plain language in commonly
used forms has won approval from a House panel, though Republicans
will likely push to expand the reach of the legislation as it
advances.  The House Oversight and Government Reform Information
Policy Subcommittee voted 3-0 on the measure, which members said will
save citizens time and money by making tax, benefits and Social
Security forms, grant applications and other documents shorter and
more comprehensible.

A companion bill is pending before the Senate Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs Committee.  The bill mandates that agencies use
best practices in plain language writing.  The measure was introduced
by Congressman Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and would force agencies to
organize documents for the reader, begin with a general summary,
address separate audiences separately and use the active voice.

Congressman Bill Sali, R-Idaho, the only Republican at the hearing,
said the bill should be extended to cover federal regulations.  Doing
so would cut costs particularly for small businesses, Sali argued.
"Regulations are the bane of existence for so many small businesses in
our country," he said.  Sali did not offer an amendment, but said he
would urge changes when the full committee considers the bill.

HAI reports Information Policy Subcommittee Chairman William Lacy
Clay, D-Missouri, and Braley said they would work with Sali on the

Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 (Archive on Monday, January 01, 0001)
Posted by rotornews  Contributed by

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